On ‘Chill Aquí,’ Extraperlo Finds Peace in the Chaos of City Life

The struggle to chill is real, or at least it’s a big motivation for Barcelona-based quintet Extraperlo. For their latest album, the band decided to take inspiration from the life of leisure, resulting in a groovy and cool effort titled Chill Aquí.

Although Extraperlo might like to take it easy, they’ve been at it for some time now, becoming a staple of the Spanish music scene ever since their inception in 2004. Alba Blasi, Aleix Clavera, Borja Rosal, Cacho Salvador, and Pau Riutort have become active participants in their slice of the Spanish music world, thanks to 2009’s Desayuno Continental and 2012’s Delirio Específico, as well as their accompanying tours. Besides performing and touring in their home country, Blasi and Rosal also work with Canada, a label and copyright/publishing house whose roster includes El Guincho, Los Punsetes, Svper, Último Vecino, Astro, and more. Rosal and Clavera play with Pablo Díaz-Reixa when he tours as El Guincho.

Extraperlo’s latest effort finds them keeping their Spirit of the 80s sound, but injecting it with organic vitality and a lyrical fascination with city life. As a preview, they shared a video for “Algo Distinto,” a song about a frustrating Skype call, which felt awfully real when we caught up with the whole band through that very medium. We spoke about Chill Aquí, life in the city (and cities), and keeping their music fresh.

How did you approach your third record?
Rosal: We wanted to bring more constant rhythms and more feeling to the songs…we wanted to create different sensations within them. We weren’t thinking about how this record is going to figure in our career, so much as [we were] trying something different from our last album, while keeping some elements that are fundamental to us. We wrote most of the songs in the studio, trying to find a different way to write and find something fresh.

“There’s stuff that is very Extraperlo now. It’s about bringing new ideas to it.”

The record was produced by [band member] Aleix [Clavera]. What made you decide to go this route and how was that experience?
Clavera: The idea was for us to produce the record ourselves – we would help each other find what we needed this time around. It wasn’t like I set myself apart from the others in order to become a producer. We had some tools to work with and get what we wanted in the studio, and this time around, we thought we didn’t need a ton of outside help.

Rosal: I think we went through something not unlike what other bands have gone through as well, where they work with a great producer and they learn a lot from the experience and the next time they apply all that was learned. In our case, we had Pablo [Diaz-Reixa, aka El Guincho] produce [Delirio Específico]; he is great and is also a person very close to us. Three of us play in his band and we’re going on tour with him for his new album. We learned so much while working with Pablo – tricks and working with different tools and finding our own sound.

Photo by Chus Antón
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You’re taking your sound to a danceable yet relaxed place, and also putting more focus on guitars rather than synths.
Rosal: I don’t think bands get closer to what their true sound is with each record. I think each record is its own piece of work.

Salvador: It’s about presenting different ideas in each album.

Rosal: I think the sound that that defines the group is present in this record. It’s not like we’re striving for something completely different. Yet we had a different approach to writing it, and we tried achieving a sound that made you feel lighter, something that’s very easy to listen to. We never want to repeat the same record over again, and trying to do that is what makes a band stand out. Nobody wants to listen to a copy of what they did before.

Blasi: You maintain a personality; you have patterns of sound you go back to. There’s stuff that is very Extraperlo now. It’s about bringing new ideas to it.

“We wanted to look at the city as an ideal paradise.”

Was there a key that led to the themes you explore in Chill Aquí?
Rosal: In terms of lyrics, we made a point to find our relationship with the city. Perhaps we weren’t going for more sincere lyrics, but we wanted to be more upfront. We wanted to know where we stood within the city, like any individual that asks themselves about their relationship with their surroundings. We wanted to explore those ideas without using many metaphors.

Clavera: We wanted to look at the city as an ideal paradise, but there was also the influence of Balearic music that comes from the islands – how this is an ideal music for an ideal place. We wanted to transpose that feeling onto the city. And of course, sonically, we were obsessed with bands from the 70s and 80s.

You’re talking about finding peace in the middle of the chaos and rush of city life.
Rosal: Musically, it remains chill, but lyrically, it’s about the situations of tension you find in city life.

Riutort: There’s more anguish in the lyrics, but the music remains calm.

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The idea of the city intrigues me. On the one hand, many cities nowadays have started to resemble one another, but on the other, there’s something in each city that is very much its own and gives it a distinctive feeling. Touring has brought you to visit many other cities. Do you think this is the case? Do you think there are universal themes in this record?
Rosal: Yes, many of the ideas in the lyrics can be interpreted depending on your city.

“It’s about the situations of tension you find in city life.”

Riutort: There’s a lyric in “Ciudad Oasis” that references to that, about watching the city and seeing it differently from what you have known before.

Blasi: You see the bad and the good.

Rosal: When you travel, it allows you to have a much larger imagination; you can mix experiences from different cities. Traveling, of course, enriches anyone that does it, and we have been fortunate enough to have done it through touring.

You have been able to tour and play in many countries and with many bands from Latin America, while at the same time being active in your country. Do you think it’s important to build this bridge? What do you see in the music scene of both sides?
Rosal: Coming from a small place like Spain, it’s a privilege to be able to go to Latin America, to play there and be exposed to everything that’s happening. It’s something we love…We think it’s super important to be there. It gives us a chance to do more.

Blasi: We have been very well received over there.

Rosal: We love it. You wish you could stay forever in so many places there.

Purchase Chill Aquí on iTunes or stream the whole album on Spotify here.